Help Me, LAPTOP: I Need a Sub-$700 Video Editing Laptop

If money's no object, it's easy to find a laptop with great performance, portability and build quality. However, if you have a strict budget of $700, it's a little more difficult to find a system that meets your appropriately high expectations.

Over on our forums, user Shiveng asks for help finding a sub-$700 notebook with a full HD (1080p), a slim chassis and enough performance for video editing and entertainment. Shiveng also names a discrete graphics card and the latest Intel "Kaby Lake" CPUs as nice-to-haves but not absolute requirements.

In the original post, Shiveng says that this outdated Lenovo Ideapad 700, which uses an older 6th-Generation CPU and a mechanical hard drive, seems like a decent deal, because Amazon has it for $609. However, the Ideapad 700 is not only a discontinued model from last year, but it's also a bit bulky and its hard drive is a major drawback. We recommend that consumers buy laptops with Solid State Drives whenever possible, because SSDs boot, launch programs and do anything involving disk activity three times faster than HDDs.

If Shiveng wants an extremely portable and premium design, we strongly recommend the Asus ZenBook UX330UA. This 13.3-inch laptop has an aluminum lid and weighs just 2.7 pounds, but it also has a 1080p screen, a Kaby Lake Core-i5 CPU and a 256GB SSD. It even lasts over 10 hours on a charge. The UX330UA offers performance that's good enough for some video editing, but it doesn't have discrete graphics.

While it's a much-heavier 5.6-pounds and doesn't have the attractive design of the UX330UA, Acer's Aspire E 15 E5-575G-57D4 gives a 15.6-inch, 1080p screen, Nvidia 940MX graphics, a 256GB SSD and an Intel Kaby Lake Core i5-7200U CPU for just $599.

To find a laptop with a discrete GPU and a faster, quad-core CPU for under $700, Shiveng may want to consider an older model that's technically discontinued but still for sale.

Amazon has the 2015 version of the Dell Inspiron 15 7000 gaming laptop for just $669 with a quad-core Core-i5 CPU, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD, a 1080p screen and Nvidia GTX 960M graphics. While the laptop has a 6th-Gen processor and a last-gen Nvidia card, getting an equivalent model with current-generation products would be hundreds of dollars more. We really like the Inspiron 15 7000, in both its current and previous generations, because of its attractive design, comfy keyboard and fantastic value.

We'd go for the lighter UX330UA with its 10 hours of battery life, but any of the three laptops we recommended above will give Shiveng performance that's good enough for some video editing, along with a sharp 1080p screen. Most importantly, they all have SSDs.

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Avram Piltch
Online Editorial Director
The official Geeks Geek, as his weekly column is titled, Avram Piltch has guided the editorial and production of since 2007. With his technical knowledge and passion for testing, Avram programmed several of LAPTOP's real-world benchmarks, including the LAPTOP Battery Test. He holds a master's degree in English from NYU.